Keeley “cousins” — frauds or visionaries???
It’s nearly impossible to research the Keely/Keeley surname for any length of time without coming across articles and information on John W. Keely and his infamous motor and Dr. Leslie Keeley and his nearly equally infamous gold cure for alcohol addiction. Both of these gentlemen and their dubious “inventions” garnered a lot of press in the late 1800s. I am certainly finding this to be the case with Historical Newspaper collection on Genealogybank. Luckily the search options provide an excluded words field, so by excluding motor and cure, a lot of these articles can be omitted from the results!
Just for the record, at this point, neither of these gentlemen appear to connect to my line of German Keely/Keeleys. I have found one tree on WorldConnect that says the father of Leslie Keeley was a Thomas Keeley who was born in Ireland and apparently immigrated to Canada sometime in the mid-1830s. My German Keely/Keelys came to Pennsylvania about 100 years before that. I do have some evidence to suggest that they may have been one of Palatinate families who first relocated to Ireland before coming to America, so I suppose there is a possible connection way back. That, however, is beyond the scope of what I am currently working on.
The ancestry of John W. Keeley, of motor fame, has been much harder to pin down. He was from the Philadelphia area. Supposedly his parents died when he was young and he was raised by his grandparents. Census data from 1880 shows that both his parents were born in PA. There is probably a pretty good chance he is related to my line, but I haven’t yet been able to make a connection. Possibly due to the dubious (some may say fraudulent) nature of his motor, articles and obituaries written about other Keeleys and Keelys who were his contemporaries do not claim him as a relative. And so the search continues!!